HONOLULU (KHON2) — Even though there’s been a drastic drop in tourists since the 14-day quarantine order took effect, there are still those who come to Hawaii with no place to stay.
Governor David Ige said in a press conference Friday that he is taking a tough stance with visitors.
“Yesterday, I instructed Director Hara that if anyone arrives at our airports without a place to stay, they will be immediately sent back,” said Ige.
This week, Kauai police arrested two men who flew to Lihue without proof of lodging.
“No one can stop individuals from getting on an aircraft in any of the public airports all across the country. We do believe the most effective way to manage who comes into our islands is through the 14-day quarantine. We are working with county law enforcement officers to make sure we can enforce those quarantines ,” said Ige.
Kauai Chief of Police, Todd Raybuck, said those who arrive without a place to stay have three options.
“The individual [will] either be required to self-quarantine in a facility that is appropriate, or leave the state or face an additional arrest for failure to quarantine under the governor’s proclamation,” said Raybuck.
He said quarantine is important to making sure COVID-19 doesn’t spread in the community.
“We cannot afford to see a rapid expansion of this virus over a short period of time that has happened in other communities,” said Raybuck. “So, we are taking this very seriously to protect our health care workers and our fragile healthcare system.”
The governor said he’s spoken with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but was told that shutting down the airports is not possible.
“Airlines cannot discriminate on who can get on an airplane. There are other administrative and other logistical challenges with directing only essential employees to travel to Hawaii,” said Ige.
However, he believes the mandatory travel quarantine is working so far.
“I would also like to note that yesterday, we had zero visitors coming from Japan,” said Ige.